Device Manager

What Does Device Manager Mean?

The device manager is a Control Panel applet within Windows operating systems since its introduction with Windows 95. It is used to view and manage all the hardware devices installed on a computer, such as hard drives, sound cards, USB devices, keyboards, and so on.


Techopedia Explains Device Manager

The device manager allows users to:

  • Retrieve and install device drivers
  • Disable or enable most devices
  • Ignore selected devices when/if they malfunction
  • View properties for each hardware device, such as manufacturer, model, type of device, etc.

The device manager can also display devices previously installed but not currently present. However, the user must have previously and successfully installed the device, and must type the following at the command prompt:

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

The procedure for accessing the device manager within the Windows OS varies slightly from one OS version to another, but usually involves displaying the Control Panel and then opening a series of menus and dialog boxes.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.